Tony in Thailand

All my Stories

An index of all my posts 51 -100

With over 230 posts on this site even I have forgotten what I have covered on the blog during my time in Thailand. I thought I would start the long task of reviewing all the stories and writing a short introduction to each one to help you more easily find topics that might be of interest. Because of the amount of work involved you won’t find a complete list today. I will continue to add to the index and update this post as I make progress so please refer back to it from time to time.

100. Shoe Shopping and more

  • Published 6 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

The purpose for our expedition was threefold. Firstly I wanted to re-visit a good coffee place, secondly I was looking forward to have a beer and some very tasty moneybags at a little restaurant I had been to before and lastly we were to go shoe shopping for Gaun at a local market.

99. Moo Baan Living

  • Published 4 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Retirement
  • LINK: HERE

Gated communities are very popular in the cities of Thailand and well adopted by both Thai and farang residents. There are many new Moo Baans being constructed on the outskirts of Chiang Mai to keep up with the fast expansion of Thailand’s number 2 city – no it isn’t a little backwater no matter what the tourist brochures tell you.

Having lived in a Moo Baan for a six months now I can appreciate the benefits as well as acknowledge some of their limitations. Find out what they are in this post.

98. Huay Tung Tao Lake

  • Published 2 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai, Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE

This is one of those hidden spots in Chiang Mai mostly used by locals rather than tourists. It is a man-made lake at the base of Doi Suthep, the large hill overlooking Chiang Mai. The main feature of the lake is that there are heaps of little salas or bamboo huts next to or over the water where you can relax and have a beer or a meal while enjoying the peace and quiet.

97. A 3D Outing

  • Published 2 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

Living in Chiang Mai isn’t all temples and elephants you know. There are other cultural experiences to be had for the mature traveller, and here I am talking temperament not age of course, looking for new artistic avenues to explore. Chiang Mai Art in Paradise is one such place designed specifically for you. Not quite at Le Louvre level but getting close.

96. A Spirit House blessing

  • Published 1 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Festivals
  • LINK: HERE

I have mentioned spirit houses or San Phra Phum as they are called in Thai in a couple of previous blog posts but have never been closely involved with one. Well that was all about to change today. Join me in the blessing ceremony for a new spirit house.

95. A Chiang Mai Backroad

  • Published 1 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

We started the afternoon at Biscotti cafe for a coffee and then having nothing else planned we decided to go for a drive in the hills of Mae Rim as had been recommended by a friend. Rather than take the 1096 the main road through Mae Rim, which leads to many of the major tourist destinations and is busy, we turned off to the right at the first opportunity onto a smaller and quiet road, the 4043, heading into the hills.

94. Biscotti Cafe

  • Published 27 Apr 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE

Living in San Sai on the edge of Chiang Mai we certainly aren’t spoiled for choice for pleasant places to sit awhile and have a coffee or iced drink. I was therefore both surprised and pleased to come across this cafe on Route 1260, which links the 1001 to the 107 beyond Maejo.

93. A R Rated Buddhist Temple

  • Published 26 Apr 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Wat/temple
  • LINK: HERE

This temple called Wat Mae Kaet, hidden away off a small back road in San Sai will change your view of gentle Buddhism. I am not sure if the theme of this temple would sit well with Buddha himself but as we know man’s ability to alter the pure truth of all religions is……well the basis of all religion!

92. Wat Phalat, liquid gold and more

  • Published 19 Apr 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Wat/temple
  • LINK: HERE

I headed onto the internet to see what others had discovered off the tourist trail and came across this jungle Wat or temple, on Doi Suthep, which is the large hill at the back of Chiang Mai. This is a lovely quiet temple hidden away in the forest with a surprising view over Chiang Mai at the back.

91. My Isaan Wedding

  • Published 16 Apr 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang, Isaan
  • Topic: Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE

For those of you that don’t know, and that’s mostly everyone outside my immediate family, Gaun and I decided to get married Isaan style earlier this year. Many of you will know that this is a pretty regular event with me and not one I was that keen on replicating when coming to Thailand. Never say never and it became quite clear to me that Gaun had become very central to my life and the best thing to come out of the shambles I left behind when coming here last year. I felt the time had come to formalise the connection and the best way of doing this was by asking Gaun to marry me and, if she accepted!, having a Thai wedding.

90. Botany Bay Part 2

  • Published 8 Apr 2014
  • Place: Sydney
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Other
  • LINK: HERE

Part 2 of our visit to Australia has us travelling down the South Coast before ending up at my brother’s place in the Blue Mountains on the outskirts of Sydney. The highlight of this part of the trip was spending a couple of days on the water both in the Hawkesbury river system and Sydney harbour. Gaun got her first taste of sea fishing and took to it like an Isaan to chilli.

89. Doi Din Dang Pottery

  • Published 7 Apr 2014
  • Place: Chiang Rai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Rai
  • LINK: HERE

I have mentioned Doi Din Dang pottery in a previous post. I was so impressed with the place I decided to do a re-visit when exploring Chiang Rai recently with my brother and sister-in-law. It is best combined with seeing the Black House as they are both a few kms to the North of Chiang Rai on Highway 1.

88. Boy Blues Bar

  • Published 6 Apr 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

Boy Blues Bar is a live music venue hidden away in the night markets – see map below. I have been there a couple of times and intend to make it a regular haunt, particularly on Mondays when they have a jam session. The last time I went there was with my brother and sister-in-law and we were almost the only people there. It is easy to sit in the front row and fully experience Boy’s unique personality. If you every want to see a guy who enjoys what he does and shows it come and see Boy play.

87. Furniture Heaven

  • Published 6 Apr 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

I decided to call into a small furniture shop I had visited before, mixed in with the huge range of plant outlets, and found they were having a sale. The cost of good quality furniture here still has me shaking my head – it is so low. Add a sale to that and it all becomes a bit dream-like. As you see from the examples below my decision to leave furniture in Australia and save the huge shipping costs makes sense when you see these replacement prices. My main problem will be not to over-furnish the new home because I won’t be able to resist the bargains.

86. Eat on Earth

  • Published 5 Apr 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE

One day trying to find a short cut home after shopping at the local Tesco Lotus I came across a narrow Soi that runs parallel with the 1001, the main road out to our Moo Baan.  The road itself does offer a useful short-cut but more importantly there are a couple of very nice eating/drinking spots along the way. One that has just opened is called Eat on Earth.

85. Doggie Protection

  • Published 4 Apr 2014
  • Place: Phuket
  • Topic: Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE

My shortest post I think so if you have a minute to spare give it a quick read. This is one of those little unusual moments I wanted to capture when we were having breakfast at a place called The Coffee House just around the corner from where we were staying in Rawai, Phuket.

84. Nai Harn Beach, Phuket

  • Published 3 Apr 2014
  • Place: Phuket
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Other
  • LINK: HERE

One of the nicer beaches to visit in Phuket is Nai Harn towards the tip of the island on the West side. The beach itself is smaller than others such as Kata and in a more intimate horseshoe shape with a restaurant perched on the rocks at one end and the Royal Phuket Yacht Club, a large hotel, at the other. There was almost no surf when we were there but that’s not always the case. Lifeguards are usually on duty if you are a nervous swimmer.

83. Bound for Botany Bay

  • Published 19 Mar 2014
  • Place: Australia
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Other
  • LINK: HERE

This is part one which covers our first two weeks in Australia. The central theme to the entry is Gaun’s experience of Australia, her first overseas trip. Much of my enjoyment from this visit has been seeing my own country through her eyes. Sights that I took for granted take on a new freshness when shared with someone who has no experience of life outside their own country.

82. Sunday Markets in Chiang Mai

  • Published 6 Jan 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

The Old Town of Chiang Mai is a reasonable sized area with its boundaries defined by the moat which surrounds it. This used to be a walled town but not much of the wall itself remains. The best example of what was can be found at Thaphae Gate, which you can see on the right hand side of the moat in the map I have included in this post. This also happens to be the best place to start if exploring the markets which stretch from here into the Old Town

81. More Chiang Mai Gardens

  • Published 31 Dec 2013
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

I was on the internet prowl yesterday for information about a botanical garden which is situated next to the Chiang Mai zoo. We have driven past it a few times on the way to Doi Suthep and it looks lovely. As is often the case with the internet you are given more than you asked for. My search came back with details on the Tweechol Botanical gardens, about 10 km out of Chiang Mai on Route 118 the main road to Chiang Rai, and it looked worth a visit.

80. Chiang Mai Gardens

  • Published 29 Dec 2013
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

Gardening doesn’t seem to be a natural inclination of Thais in a home environment either through choice, financial limitations or cultural conditioning. However on a community and national level there is a much stronger display of green thumbs happening. The Royal family are keen supporters of gardens, either as separate entities or as an extension to the royal palaces dotted around the country.  In this post we visit the Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens in Mae Rim, Bhubing Palace Gardens on Doi Suthep and a small flower exhibition on the way home.

79. Nimmanhaemin Road

  • Published 29 Dec 2013
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

One of THE places to visit in Chiang Mai is Nimmanhaemin Road, which starts where the Super Highway Route 11 ends to the North West of the Old Town. This is an area largely devoted to bars, cafes, restaurants and guesthouses. Nimmanhaemin Road itself is extremely busy and getting there on the Super Highway can be a slow process as three lanes merge into one at traffic lights. Finding a park might be a challenge too. However once you have arrived there is certainly a huge selection of places to spend time eating, drinking and shopping.

78. Thailand Six Months On

  • Published 22 Dec 2013
  • Place: NA
  • Topic: Retirement
  • LINK: HERE

I had to update my home address details with Chiang Mai immigration recently, something required every 90 days under the terms of my retirement or O type visa. Being the second time I have had to do this it was a reminder that I have now been here for six months although it seems longer. I thought that I would mark this landmark occasion with a review of my life here in Thailand warts and all. Writing this blog entry has given me an opportunity to assess my decision to live here as much for my interest as for anyone else’s. It’s a long one so enjoy with coffee or a wine.

77. Rice – the Final Chapter

  • Published 4 Dec 2013
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang, Isaan
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

If you have been following my blogs of life over here you’d think that I have an obsession with rice because this is yet another entry that has it as a topic. In some ways you’d be right. The labour intensive process of growing rice and its role as a central food source makes it important in itself. Historically rice has been grown here for possibly well over 5,000 years, which well a truly integrates it into Thai life.

76. Festivals in Chiang Mai

  • Published 29 Nov 2013
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Festivals
  • LINK: HERE

Having planted rice on Gaun’s family farm on my last visit to Isaan there was a strong expectation from her family that I would return to participate in the harvest mid-November.  I was going to get to Isaan earlier in November because the rice was ready sooner than predicted but two events resulted in us postponing the trip. Firstly we moved to Chiang Mai on 1 November and we were involved in setting up the new house. The second reason was that we wanted to be in town for the popular Loi Krathong/Yi Peng festival on the weekend of 16 – 17 November.

75. Buying Land in Isaan

  • Published 28 Nov 2013
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang, Isaan
  • Topic: Building in Thailand, Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE

Well I now own a small part of Thailand as of this Monday. Who would have thought? This has been one of the oddest progressions in my life from holidaying here last year to retiring, living and “owning” land in Thailand.

74. Doi Chaang Coffee

  • Published 30 Oct 2013
  • Place: Chiang Rai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Rai
  • LINK: HERE

A change of plans due to bad weather meant that this afternoon was spent driving to Doi Chang mountain, Chiang Rai province’s highest peak, and visit the home of Doi Chaang Coffee, one of the world’s top boutique coffee producers.

73. Chiang Rai – the Neighbourhood

  • Published 27 Oct 2013
  • Place: Chiang Rai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Rai
  • LINK: HERE

The advantage and pleasure of not being a two week tourist in a place like Chiang Rai is that one has the luxury of time to explore the little places of interest away from the main visitor destinations such as the White temple and the Black House (separate blogs on both of these).

This entry is a mix of places we have visited around our home in Chiang Rai during the nine weeks we’ve been here. It will give you a taste of some of the more everyday sights in the area. Included are the Buffalo temple, the Chiang Rai Clock Tower, the markets, Canary Coffee and Central Plaza for some farang supermarket shopping.

72. The Road to Chiang Rai

  • Published 20 Oct 2013
  • Place: Chiang Rai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Rai
  • LINK: HERE

The drive from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai on Route 118 takes about 2 1/2 hours if you don’t stop but to drive it this way is to miss lots of interesting sights along the way. I’ve driven this road six times in the eight weeks we’ve been living in Chiang Rai so it has become pretty familiar. The first drive was the initial move to Chiang Rai. three trips for dental appointments, once to find a house to rent and once to buy a car.

71. A Run to the Border

  • Published 12 Oct 2013
  • Place: Chiang Rai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Rai
  • LINK: HERE

About an hour’s drive North of Chiang Rai is the town of Mae Sai, which doesn’t have a lot going for it other than it is a major exit point to Myanmar and also has the Immigration Office for Chiang Rai. This post does cover my visit here and the Immigration Office but of far more interest and wat more scenic is our side trip to Doi Tung Royal Palace.

70. Our New Home and Housing in Thailand

  • Published 6 Oct 2013
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Retirement, Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE

We have today signed a lease for a house in Chiang Mai, conditional on my redundancy going through as planned. This is the first major action I’ve taken to make a permanent commitment to Thailand. It marks a change from focussing on the what ifs, should I, shouldn’t I live here to deciding this is it and getting on with the logistics of settling in.

I thought I would use this opportunity to not only show you where we will be living but also to cover some aspects of housing here from construction techniques to the range of Moo Baan (estate) houses available.